Dining Services finished the second phase of renovations this summer, and students are enjoying new food offerings.
The Heilman Dining Center has a fresh look, including several updated menu items. The first phase of the dining hall renovation occurred in 2021 with updated dessert and salad stations. The second and larger phase began the day after commencement in May 2022.
“The last renovation was 15 years ago, and it doesn't reflect the current trends and new dining preferences the students have and everybody has nowadays,” said Terry Baker, the executive director of Dining Services.
There are new, clearly labeled stations that almost serve as “micro-restaurants,” Baker said. The updated Mediterranean station, called “Herb & Olive,” features pizza and pasta offerings as well as new items such as pesto mozzarella bread and made-to-order skillets. “Wander” offers international food options, including a Mongolian grill.
Sophomore Doro initially thought the dining hall renovation was just a facelift. Now, he is enjoying the new offerings, such as slushies and dim sum dumplings.
“Plant Life” includes vegan and vegetarian options, while “Fare” serves students with dietary restrictions.
“If a student meets with our dietitian and they have to have separate meals made for them because of their dietary requirements, ‘Fare’ is a dedicated area where the students can go and know that their food is prepared according to what their special diet is,” Baker said.
“Bruce’s,” named after the late UR chancellor and president E. Bruce Heilman, kept its name through the renovation to honor his legacy. The station maintained the blue and metal theme honoring his love of motorcycles.
Dining Services is also expanding its partnerships with local vendors. The beef served in the dining hall is from Seven Hills Food Co. in Lynchburg, Virginia, Baker said.
Students can expect new menu items and flavors throughout the semester, Baker said. These new items will be introduced slowly as Dining Services completes a staff reorganization.
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Sophomore Ruby Nguyen said she thought the renovation was just an updated color scheme but is now taking advantage of the new choices.
“I really enjoy the new items on the menu,” Nguyen said. “There was a honey and goat cheese pizza, and I was floored.”
With the dining hall renovations complete, Dining Services is already discussing its next project, Baker said. As a part of an overall Boatwright Memorial Library renovation, 8:15 at Boatwright could move to a larger space, Baker said. The proposals await approval from the Board of Trustees, but this renovation is expected to take place within the coming years.
Baker said Dining Services’ work during the summer also included upgrades at Passport Cafe. Passport received a new espresso machine that can make more drinks faster with the ability to offer new specials.
Contact lifestyle editor Corinne Flaherty at email@example.com.
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